Wednesday 11 November 2009

Gordon Brown gets the blame

The Bereaved can blame in three directions: themselves, perpetrators, and helpers.

A mother who loses her son in a war could blame herself for letting him join the army, blame the enemy, or blame anyone whose comfort fails to assuage her grief. The last category may seem unfair on helpers, and surprising, but it makes sense in terms of self preservation.

Self blame is punishing, which at any time is dreadful, and worse during the pain of loss. Blaming the enemy is curiously hard. The enormity of what they have done sometimes makes them impossible to visualise. They are beneath contempt, and sometimes have to be wiped from the memory for as long as possible. Helpers often catch late anger and rage at loss, because they are near to hand and incapable of doing very much, because they cannot bring back the dead. Their comments rouse hope, but any mistake dashes hope to the ground.

No wonder people run from the bereaved, excusing themselves by saying they probably want to be left alone. Why put your foot in it?

Hardest of all is to decide whether a politician who commits troops to battle, and then writes to the bereaved can be considered a helper or a perpetrator. If a perpetrator, then politicians could never sanction a war, which would be noble but might lead to the deaths of their own citizens. They would rightly be accused of failing to protect their nationals. We would probably all blame them then.


  1. Running from the bereaved is fear in some way... Not knowing how to handle the hurt of others. But it is always nice, for me anyway, to have friends near and at hand even if it's to share silences...

    Anne Marie

  2. I wonder how much this poor woman's distress has been manipulated/altered by the media and what effect this may have on both her and Mr Brown? Perhaps the 'media' too should carry some 'blame'?

  3. Jimmy, I've come back in answer to your email and the fact that my earlier comment came in with my gmail address, and my blogspot address is another... :-)

    'Blame'??? When we're hurt we tend to want to blame someone or sth but I don't know, I think this tends to hurt us more!!!

    Anne Marie